Can Hearing Loss be Cured?

Yellow question mark on a background of black sign to reiterate the question; is there a cure for hearing loss.

Every day scientists are coming up with new cures. That can be a good or bad thing. You may decide that you really don’t have to be very careful about your hearing because you read some promising research about prospective future cures for deafness. By the time you start showing symptoms of hearing loss, you think, they’ll have found the cure for deafness.

That wouldn’t be wise. Clearly, protecting your hearing now while it’s still healthy would be the smarter choice. Scientists are making some remarkable advances on the subject of treating hearing loss though, including some potential cures in the future.

Hearing loss is awful

Hearing loss is just something that happens. It doesn’t suggest you’re a bad person or you did something wrong or you’re being penalized. It just… is. But developing hearing loss has some serious disadvantages. Not only can you hear less, but the disorder can impact your social life, your mental health, and your overall wellness. Untreated hearing loss can even result in an increased risk of depression and dementia. There’s lots of evidence to connect untreated hearing loss to problems like social isolation.

In general, hearing loss is a chronic and degenerative problem. So, over time, it will continue to get worse and there is no cure. This doesn’t pertain to every kind of hearing loss but we’ll get to that soon. But “no cure” is not the same as “no treatment”.

We can help you maintain your levels of hearing and slow down the development of hearing loss. Hearing aids are frequently the form of treatment that will be most appropriate for most forms of hearing loss. So, for most people, there’s no cure, but there are treatments. And your quality of life will be greatly improved by these treatments.

Hearing loss comes in two main types

There are differences in types of hearing loss. Hearing loss comes in two primary categories. One can be cured, the other can be managed. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Conductive hearing loss: This type of hearing loss takes place because something gets in the way and obstructs your ear canal. Possibly it’s a bunch of earwax (a little gross, but it happens). Possibly, an ear infection is causing inflammation. Whatever the cause, there’s something physically stopping sound waves from traveling up to your inner ear. This kind of hearing loss can certainly be cured, normally by eliminating the blockage (or treating whatever is causing the obstruction in the first place).
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: This type of hearing loss is more permanent. Vibrations in the air are sensed by delicate hairs in your ears called stereocilia. These vibrations can be translated to sound by your brain. Unfortunately, these hairs are destroyed as you go through life, usually by overly loud noises. And once they’re damaged, the hairs no longer function. And when this happens your ability to hear becomes impaired. Your body won’t naturally regrow these hairs and we presently have no way to mend them. When you lose them, it’s forever.

Sensorineural hearing loss treatments

Just because sensorineural hearing loss is irreversible doesn’t mean it can’t be managed. Given your loss of hearing, letting you hear as much as possible is the purpose of treatment. The objective is to help you hear conversations, increase your situational awareness, and keep you functioning independently through life.

So, what are these treatment strategies? Here are some common treatments.

Hearing aids

Hearing aids are probably the single most common way of treating hearing loss. Hearing aids can be individually calibrated to your specific hearing needs, so they’re especially beneficial. Wearing a hearing aid will allow you to better understand conversations and communicate with others over the course of your daily life. Hearing aids can even delay many symptoms of social isolation (and the risk of depression and dementia as a result).

There are lots of different styles of hearing aid to choose from and they have become a lot more common. In order to determine which model is suited to your taste and degree of hearing loss, you’ll need to come see us for a consultation.

Cochlear implants

Often, it will be necessary to bypass the ears altogether if hearing loss is complete. A cochlear implant does exactly that. This device is surgically inserted into the ear. The device picks up on sounds and translates those sounds into electrical energy, which is then transmitted directly to your cochlear nerve. Your brain then interprets those signals as sound.

Cochlear implants are usually used when hearing loss is total, a condition called deafness. So there will still be treatment solutions even if you have totally lost your hearing.

Novel advances

New novel ways of treating hearing loss are always being researched by scientists.

These new advances are often aimed at “curing” hearing loss in ways that have previously proven impossible. Here are some of those advances:

  • Stem cell therapies: These treatments utilize stem cells from your own body. The concept is that new stereocilia can be produced by these stem cells (those little hairs inside of your ears). Studies with animals (like rats and mice) have shown some promise, but some kind of prescription stem cell gene therapy still seems going to be a while.
  • Progenitor cell activation: So the stereocilia in your ear are being produced by your body’s stem cells. The stem cells go dormant after they create stereocilia and are then referred to as progenitor cells. These new treatments are encouraging the stereocilia to regrow by reactivating the progenitor cells. This particular novel therapy has been used in humans, and the results seem encouraging. There was a significant improvement, for most people, in their ability to hear and understand speech. It isn’t really known how long it will be before these treatments will be widely available.
  • GFI1 Protein: Some researchers have discovered a protein that’s critical to growing new stereocilia. Scientists are hoping that they can get a better idea of how to get these stereocilia to grow back by identifying this protein. This treatment is very much still on the drawing board and isn’t widely available yet.

Live in the moment – treat your hearing loss now

Lots of these innovations are promising. But it’s essential to stress that none of them are available yet. Which means that it’s smart to live in the here and now. Protect your hearing today.

A miracle cure likely isn’t coming soon, so if you’re struggling with hearing loss, call us today to schedule your hearing assessment.



The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.